Residents rankled at parking lot proposal that would raze homes in Grosse Pointe Park

Grosse Pointe Park is looking to convert a residential area into parking lots for local businesses - but not everyone is on board.

"I didn’t move here in 2015 because I thought, ‘You know what’s going to be great? They’re going to tear down a bunch of houses and we’re going to have parking lots,’" said one resident.

City council members got an earful Monday night by some residents upset over a proposed parking development in the Cabbage Patch neighborhood.

It would require the demolition of at least four houses on Wayburn and Maryland streets that developers purchased earlier this year and in 2021.

"Over the last half decade or so we’ve been losing houses at a really fast pace - perfectly good homes; affordable homes," one resident told FOX 2.

The parking developments would bolster the Kercheval Business District – a stretch of bars, restaurants, and other small businesses bordering Detroit’s east side.

"I know they need parking, I get it, but not on a residential street," said Sharon, a resident.

And not at the cost of tearing down houses, some residents say.

It could eventually include some multi-family homes. Neighbors say they’ve been a gateway to the pointes for lower-income families for years.

"I was born and raised here," one woman said. "Housing like this is what afforded us the opportunity. We grew up in flats, in apartments. And without that opportunity for lower-income housing, we wouldn't have had the opportunity for Grosse Pointe schools available to us."

"I don’t think any resident would want to have a parking lot right across the street from them for resale purposes, for noise value," Sharon said.
"If they make it really beautiful, which I’m sure they could, then it would be acceptable if we have no choice in the matter."    

"Well the partners that we’re working with are very committed to quality," said Mayor Michele Hodges. "And I don’t think it’s going to be an asphalt-covered parking lot. It will be a high quality - if we even get to that point. Let’s remember that - it’s got to go through the process."

But residents Frank Joyce and Mary Anne Barnett say they know what’s coming if the development is approved. They live a stone’s throw away from the Kercheval Business District on Lakepointe Street where at least four homes were razed for parking lots a few years ago.

"And now just steps from our house, I call us the 'national fence neighborhood,'" Joyce said. "We’ve got cyclone fencing, we’ve got poorly maintained vacant lots, we’ve got fallen down fencing. If this was in Detroit, people would call it blight."

City Manager Nick Sizeland says the public will be able to view and weigh in on the proposed parking development at the city planning commission on October 6th.

The commission will decide whether or not to rezone these four parcels to make way for the parking lots.

But three properties, which are also being prepped for demolition, are not on that agenda for rezoning - and residents think they know why.

"The idea here is that they’re going to tear the houses down and then say to the neighbors, ‘well they’re already gone, you might as well have a parking lot,’" said a resident. "Rather than actually asking us what we think about destroying our neighborhood at the front end."